Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Haiti’s Creole: Language of Revolution

Theories vary about the genesis of Kreyòl, or Haitian Creole, the most plausible one being that Taino Indians and West Africans, who had evaded slavery together on Haiti’s mountains, probably intermarried and developed a new language. The country’s name itself, Ayiti, is an Arawak word that means mountainous land. The word Vodou, which is essentially synonymous with Haitian culture and religion, originates from Benin and means God — not the God of Christianity, Muslim and Judaism created in man’s image, but a polytheistic religion’s most supreme God, wholly indifferent to human affairs, indescribable, and inaccessible except by some manifestations of its aspects in other deities.

Much of Kreyòl’s grammar comes from the African Fon language family, whereas the lexicon represents a mixed bag of African (Fon, Wolof, Kongo, Arabic), Native American (Arawak), and European (Spanish, English, Portuguese).

Haitian proverb: Kreyòl pale, Kreyòl konprann. | Creole spoken, Creole understood. (This is straight talk.)

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